A Case of the Scuttlebutt

May 14th, 2014

So recently I sampled a 22oz bottle of Amber Ale from Scuttlebutt Brewery in Everett, WA. I am completely honest in my stating that I have never had one of their beers before. I am very open minded to trying new styles and giving breweries a shot to be in my glass. I am fond of saying that my favorite beer is the one in my hand. After an afternoon in my woodshop, I decided to give these folks a try and see what’s what. The appearance was beautiful; a rich deep bronze hue almost flirting with being a red head. There was a crystal clear brilliance I wasn’t expecting for an Ale, so my hopes were high. I gave the head a sniff and began to be very pleased with my $4.69 purchase. But, the carpet didn’t match the drapes. The attack was very dull and lacking in maltiness. Since the hop bill is made of Mt. hood and Willamette, I was bracing for a floral nose with hints of citrus, but again, no go. I tried my next pour with a bit of cheddar and that elevated the hops a bit, but not enough to warrant purchasing it again. The worst part of the experience was the next day….let’s just say “having a case of the scuttlebutt” is a polite way of telling you it repeated on me. That said, I am willing to give their IPA and Porter a try…everyone deserves a second shot.

Nitty Gritty:

Amber Ale
Medium Bodied, Caramel Flavor and Herbal Finish

Color: Deep Bronze
Aroma: Spicy
Hops: Mt. Hood and Willamette
23 IBU’s
5.1% ABV


Flavor of the Week

March 30th, 2014

Beer: Pike Brewery Post Alley Porter

Location: Seattle, WA


Seattle’s Pike Brewery philosophy is a rather simple one; use the best ingredients with very few inputs. The brewery strictly follows the German Purity Law and source their ingredients from Washington State barley and hops farmers. Their brew kettles are heated by Seattle Steamworks, a private sauna and bath house, keeping energy inputs and costs very low. The Post Alley Porter is named for the old brick alley beneath Pike Brewing that winds upward to Pike Place Market.

Tasting Notes and Recommendations:

I am a huge believer in Gastronomic Identity; the notion that if something grows together it goes together. In the Puget Sound area of Washington State, there are plenty of oysters, chocolatiers and, of course, craft beers. After evaluation of Post Alley Porter, this philosophy of pairing local with local was soundly reinforced.

The first and most obvious of the flavors that jumped out to me were baker’s chocolate as well as coffee; specifically that of a chocolate covered espresso bean. There is also a light and refreshing quality to this Porter that lends itself to local oysters. The briny tasting mollusks are deliciously complimented by the earthy, dark toasted bread aromas and flavors of the beer. These flavors echo an earthiness to the oysters as well as provide a subtle malty sweetness to compete with the dominate salinity of this particular seafood.

But wait, it gets even better! This Porter also pairs extremely well with a bittersweet flourless chocolate cake. The robust bitterness of the beer on the pallet lends itself to the bittersweet chocolate in the dessert. The coffee notes are released with each bite and subsequent drink making this a delicious and decadent conclusion to dinner.

Nitty Gritty:

The beer smells and tastes of dark toasted bread, baker’s chocolate, caramel and chocolate covered coffee beans. It is light on the pallet for a Porter and effervescent with a lovely, lingering aftertaste suitable to provide a feeling of comfort on a chilly Winter evening or a refreshing pick-me-up on a warm Summer afternoon.

6.0% ABV
O.G. 1.060
IBU: 32

Pairing Suggestions:

Olympia Oysters, English Farmhouse Cheddar or Flourless Chocolate Cake

“Not Even In Your Top Ten”…

July 27th, 2012

…is what my darling wife said to me as we were having dinner with some friends recently.  I took the time to prepare a few new things I have been wanting to try.  The menu consisted of Cumberland chicken in which I pan roasted some chicken breasts, added some English style bacon, leeks and fresh red grapes.  I then deglazed with Port and orange juice and let that reduce.  I also made a couscous galette for the first time.  It is a crunchy baked pasta dish with Gruyere, lemon and eggs, and lightly crisped under the broiler.  For dessert I made a lemon meringue baked Alaska.  I made a lemon curd, served it atop a sponge cake and encased bourbon ice cream with an Italian style meringue. Delicious?  Yes.  And, to which I exclaimed “this is one of the best meals I have ever made”.  My wife replied “it’s not even in your top ten”.  I wasn’t defeated though, she rattle of a list of her favorites including my pizza, grilled Filet Mignon and a white chocolate-lavender ice cream I had made for her once.  I take great pleasure that my harshest critic is completely honest with me, does truly enjoy the food I prepare and also folds my laundry.

$32 Pretzel?!!

May 17th, 2012

That’s right, I said $32 pretzel.  Actually, to be more accurate, that was a text message I received from my wife while I and a good friend from Syracuse were out on a “Hop In, Hop Out” culinary tour of my neighborhood in West Seattle.  The trip out that afternoon was a thank you to my friend Eric for being my son’s Godfather.  He had visited before, and had seen the downtown area, and decided he would rather stay in my ‘hood to eat and drink local delicacies.  We started at Prost!, a German inspired pub known throughout the city for their soft pretzel with mustard.  IT, only costs $6, but the two draft lagers we had each, plus the 2 pretzels made the bill $32.

We had just left Prost and headed to The Matador for a Manny’s and some fish tacos.  While ordering, I feel my phone vibrate and see that is a text message from my wife.  “That pretzel cost $32???”, it exclaimed.  I had to inform her that we had some tall beers to go with it and that the next stop would be noticeably cheaper; though I was only guessing.  I showed it to Eric.  He chuckled and said, Wow, that was fast!”  I completely agreed and told him I didn’t realize I was being monitored and we needed to have one beer per stop.  Eric, being the guy that he is and a good friend for nearly two decades, said that the next stop was on him.  I have learned during the tenure of our friendship that it is pointless to argue, and being fellas, we both knew that a day out eating will even out on my next trip to Syracuse.

After The Matador, we headed down the street to Elliot Bay Brewery for a sampler.  We got to choose our own five beer flight from their many choices.  I was impressed with their Red IPA, and that is about it.  The fact that our server was MIA for most of the time was also a real put off, and we decided to high tail it to the next place after we got the bill.

We headed across the street for Sushi at Moshiko, and were informed that there would be 90 minute wait.  We promptly exited and were on our way back to the car and made an impromptu stop at Azuma, a place I have never been to.  Were were seated immediately and ordered a spicy tuna roll, a spider roll and a Jun Mai sake.  Delicious!  After that we headed home and Eric fell asleep in my recliner.  I never knew a $32 pretzel could affect two people in dramatically different ways.

What A Difference A Year Makes

April 15th, 2012

As some of you may know, I became a Dad for the first time in October.  My wife and I have celebrated, everyday since, the birth of our son.  In these past 6 months, I am counting the time away from blogging as a whole, I have had to learn how to juggle Fatherhood, my role as a husband, my business, teaching, taking the dog for a walk, finding time to go to the bathroom uninterrupted for five minutes…you get the picture.  I have missed writing, but in executing those tasks just mentioned, it is a weekly impossibility.  So, today’s the day I begin anew.  I will be blogging Monthly and recounting things that I have achieved, tips I may have picked up, or funny stories about cooking for a baby boy…he hates bananas.  My new goal is not to inspire or educate in a direct or zealous manner, but rather relay a practical, real-world story of my Culinary journey each month.  The best is surely to come.

Cooking With a Purpose

November 5th, 2011

In the middle of running a business, teaching and going to school, my wife and I welcomed our first child, a son, to our home.  I have found in the first few weeks of his life, that my focus in the kitchen has been razor sharp.  I am planning meals for us, as I would a client.  I am baking and canning, shopping and storing, organizing and cleaning.  It is cooking with a purpose…to allow my wife the well deserved time away from worrying about what’s for dinner.  Tonight, simply baking a loaf of bread to go with our lentil soup seemed to brighten her day and let her forget, if only for a moment, that she is exhausted.

Preserving The Harvest

September 2nd, 2011

I used to find the wild blackberries in my yard to be a nuisance.  The overgrowth was overwhelming.  Coming back inside with scratched and bloody arms was usually the end result of pulling out the invasive, indigenous vines.  This year, however, I decided to let them hang around a little longer and harvest the berries.  I managed to pick six quarts of luscious, ripe, juicy berries and made them into jam.  I managed close to 14 eight ounce jars of handmade blackberry jam.  I look forward to spreading it on Sunday morning biscuits and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this Fall.

Perfect Pairing

August 11th, 2011

As most of you know I have been teaching Food & Wine Pairing for almost a year now at South Seattle Community College. Yesterday I was lecturing about pairing wine with cheese. When we arrived at the tasting exercise portion of class, I was very excited to present an Irish, washed rind cheese known as Ardrahan. “Ardrahan is a type of semi-soft cheese with a pungent aroma, Ardrahan cheese has buttery textured honey-coloured centre with a complex delicate flavour. It has a washed rind which grows into a golden colour, and its size and weight tend to vary slightly due to the fact that it is a hand-made product” (http://www.ardrahancheese.ie/). I paired the this delicious and earthy cheese with my handcrafted, home brewed Porter. I explained to the class that sometimes beer is the best option, particularly a beer that is made in an Irish style. The Irish Ale yeast strain used in the beer provides earthy notes on the palate that echo those of the cheese.

Return of the Garden, or Garden Wars: A New Hope

July 22nd, 2011

I moved my garden, this year, to an area that gets more sun. It is no secret I am beyond frustrated growing tomatoes in the Northwest, but I am hoping that this new, humble garden will do the trick. I have some Anaheim peppers that are budding and showing fruit already! This may be my only hope. No….there is another. The lavender and other herbs I put in are sure to save my garden universe.

¡Viva España!

July 5th, 2011

Three weeks ago I began a journey around Spain that was a year in the making. I toured numerous wineries and was immersed in Spanish cuisine and culture. In the coming weeks, and in all likelihood months, I will describe as best I can the culinary trip of a lifetime. I have over 1300 photographs to disseminate and I am diligently re-reading my journal and reviewing the itinerary to get every last detail. Stay tuned…

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